16 March 2020
PARIS, France: VAL’HOR, the umbrella organisation for ornamental horticulture in France, (regrouping all trade unions from the ornamental sector, from growers to retailers, landscapers and florists), committed to supporting its community to manage the impact of COVID-19. Mikaël Mercier, president of VAL’HOR and grower of acidophilic plants in Guiclan (Brittany), shared a message of support on 13 March, a few hours after French President Emmanuel Macron made a televised address at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
According to Mercier, the statement of the President de la République will “lead us all, individually and collectively, to take action to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Our priority is the health and well-being of the people we serve. The social and economic impact of the virus on our business will be profound. The coronavirus outbreak could not have come at a worse time of year as both flower and plant growers rely on selling their products in March, April and May, three crucial months for bedding plants sales and mother’s day sales. Consumer demand is already dampening.”
Mercier stresses that during this unprecedented health crisis, VAL’HOR is at the side of its members, taking a pro-active approach together with trade federations, to inform the government about the current state of the industry and ensure the application of announced support measures. “VAL’HOR is also taking critical steps to play a vital role in communication and the recovery of the market. As Chairman of VAL’HOR and as a grower, you can be assured of my support, commitment and determination. It is not the first time that our sector faces huge challenges. I am confident that we can collectively overcome this challenge and keep the sector safe, healthy and make it rebloom.”
On Saturday 14 March French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe ordered a lock down of all non-essential public spaces amid the coronavirus outbreak. “Our sector will see all commercial flower outlets close down except those who stock pet food and which are involved in primary production and landscaping. To avoid interruption of the supply chain, floral wholesalers and retailers will be allowed to continue to process their orders and deliveries on the condition that there’s no contact with the public. It clearly states that companies remaining in business will be required to implement strict procedures for secure manner. Companies must inform their employees about the measures to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure that these are respected. The entire sector is ready to fight against the spread of the virus and invited to think about necessary actions to be put in place when the time comes to emerge from this major crisis. The situation is evolving day by day. If these measures were to evolve, we would inform our members.”
Founded in 1998, VAL’HOR is an inter-professional organisation of 53,000 companies (generating a combined turnover of €11 billion and creating 160,000 jobs), 160 volunteers, three horticultural schools and ten industry associations representing the ornamental horticulture industry in France